Just 3 months after working out a return to the NBA, Chinese center Yi Jianlian already wants out of his new team.
New reports indicate the the Lakers will release Jianlian from his new contract, per the players request, so that he can explore other options. Via ESPN:
After talks with team officials on Sunday, China star Yi Jianlian has asked the Los Angeles Lakers for his release, according to league sources.
“Sources told ESPN.com that with the Lakers facing roster cut-down decisions by Monday at 5 p.m. ET, Yi and his representatives requested that the Lakers let him go to pursue other opportunities, largely because the role he envisioned in L.A. didn’t materialize.”
The Lakers needed to release two players to meet NBA roster requirements, so having a player request a release shouldn’t be too huge of a problem. Still, the Lakers need talented veterans and Jianlian was brought in specifically for that role. He impressed at the Rio Olympics and received an offer shortly after, though he seemed uninterested in playing for the team.
“After his strong play with China in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Yi was signed by the Lakers in August to a one-year, $8 million deal that was uniquely structured, featuring $6.8 million in what the league deemed “likely” bonuses.
But the defined role Yi expected when he agreed to leave the Guangdong Southern Tigers in his native China — with minutes at both power forward and center — didn’t pan out as he had hoped this month, prompting the 28-year-old to seek his release.”